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Barriers to seeking and receiving help for sexual concerns in mid and later life

Barriers to seeking and receiving help for sexual concerns in mid and later life

The sexual health needs of people at mid and later life tend to get overlooked at both a political and professional level. This presentation will explore the reasons why, by looking at barriers to seeking and receiving help for sexual concerns and difficulties. Evidence from a range of sources, including a literature review of twenty-five articles on medical help-seeking and doctor-patient interactions, was examined.

Patients reported a number of barriers to seeking help for sexual concerns including thinking that sexual changes were ‘normal with ageing’ and assuming that their doctor would think that sex was not important to them ‘at their age’. Health care professional (HCP) barriers to providing sexual health care related to limited knowledge of mid and later life sexuality issues, as well as inadequate training at medical school. Doctors tended not to take a proactive approach to sexual health with ‘older’ patients, but patients were more likely to seek help if their doctor had asked about sexual function during a previous consultation.┬áThe implications for sexual well-being if the doctor does not ask and the patient does not tell are clear. Providing education about sexuality for doctors and other HCPs is crucial if we are to meet the needs of ‘older’ patients in useful and effective ways.

Conference: WAS Glasgow 2011
Areas of Interest / Categories: WAS 2011

WAS 2011

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